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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Little, Big: fairy blood and fairy logic
Date: Wed, 03 May 2000 10:32:41 

Jim Jordan wrote:
alga wrote:
> >JC doesn't flat
> out say, "Hey, Vi was a fairy!" but why would he give us the backstory and
> the chart otherwise?

Because, among other things, the book is a family saga.  And because it
adds a temporal depth and richness to the book to know how the
Drinkwaters got where they are, and how the Tale began.  (Besides, the
"backstory" contains some of Crowley's best writing.)  On my previous
readings of the book I never felt the chart and backstory were
intrusive, and I never suspected the Drinkwaters of having fairy genes.

> Why would he have August go on a spending spree (I use
> the word in its old-fashioned sense--no, not spree) among the local girls
> otherwise?

Again, it's clear that the fairies want there to be as many Drinkwaters
as possible.  It doesn't follow from this that the Drinkwaters have
fairy genes.

> >[Me]:
> >
> >> I don't think there are meant to be logical explanations for all these
> >> things.  At any rate, that seems to be the meaning of Mrs. Underhill's
> >> speech to Eigenblick in "Give Way, Give Way" (Book Six, Chap. Five), the
> >> gist of it is that there are no explanations, it's just the way the
> >> world is.
> >Alga:
> >Yes, I keep on about this too. This isn't a tidy kind of book. Many of the
> most interesting books are not too tidy.
> Nutria:
>         Dunno. He worked on it for a long time. Rather than setting something
> aside as untidy, I'd assume the opposite.

What I, and presumably alga, meant, is not that Crowley was just making
things up as he went along, but that Crowley didn't mean everything in
the book to have a neat logical explanation (unlike BOTNS, or at least
unlike what we hope BOTNS will prove to be).  Ironically, I think alga
herself is over-rationalizing the fairies' actions, with her genetic
explanations for various events.  I think that a lot of what the fairies
do is motivated not by cause-and-effect logic, but by the Tale: it's
necessary to the fairies' plan, for some reason, that the Tale be
carried out.  Moreover, we know that not everything that happens was
foreseen by the fairies, although it all becomes part of the Tale: they
didn't plan on Lilac stealing Sophie's sleep ("That's the Lot," IV, 1);
they didn't count on Auberon falling in love with Sylvie, and they
didn't originally plan for Sylvie to join the Drinkwaters in the
fairies' country ("Let Him Follow Love, IV, 3).

In another post alga asks what, if not the desire to reproduce, is
behind the fairies' concern with the Drinkwaters?  The problem with this
is that the fairies don't show any consciousness of the Drinkwaters
being a continuation of their race.  In fact, once the fairies
themselves have gone inward, they will apparently have no further
contact with the Drinkwaters.  (And to revert to a logical viewpoint, if
the fairies' goal is to spread their genes, wouldn't it be simpler and
quicker to just mate with as many humans as possible, rather than
arrange one human-fairy marriage and wait a century for its

The ulterior motive behind the fairies' meddling with the Drinkwaters is
not reproduction, I would argue, but survival.  For some reason, the
Drinkwaters have to cross over into the fairies' country in order for
the fairies to be able to go further inward themselves, and take refuge
from the humans.  Perhaps, though this is just a guess, the substitution
even has to be one-to-one, which would explain why there are fifty-two
fairies and fifty-two Drinkwaters.


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